The warmth of the land and the hospitality of the people makes it easy to absolutely fall in love with the continent of Africa. The safari experience is but a part of Africa but a good point to start. Ernest Hemmingway was enamoured with Africa from his three month safari expedition. The vastness of the land and the rawness of hunting enticed him endlessly. It is the land of romance, stories and literature that came to being.
There is nothing more romantic than witnessing the still of the land against the backdrop of a setting African sun. The silhouette of antelope, bushes and baobab trees are set alight in the magnificent warmth of the orange glow. Spend days rediscovering the beauty and the catharsis of nature in the wild African sun with your loved one. Soak in the grandeur of the land and wake up to meerkats perched in a row against the arid rocks of Africa. Trek through the wilderness and immerse yourself in the expansive ecosystem. Open yourself to the possibility of having an elephant herd visit while you sip your afternoon tea. At the end of the day, gather around the campfire and share your day time adventures over fine wine and local cuisine.
One of the common goals of people travelling to Africa is to witness the big five – Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo – in their natural habitat. Given the variability of nature, spotting all the animals on your checklist is not always possible. However, visitors still leave satisfied having immersed themselves completely in nature. Safari options are endless. Given the magnitude of the continent, it may be overwhelming to know where to go. Each national park has its specialty in its safari experience such as specific animal sightings or particular types of services so be sure to focus on your priorities. Here are some noteworthy luxury picks if you are looking to head out to witness the African Safari.
10. Camp Okuti, Botswana: $459/Night
The unique arched tents at Camp Okuti make them stand out from rest of the tented safari accommodations. It has an outward looking architectural structure that provides an uninterrupted view of the Okavanga lagoon in Botswana. You will feel like you are completely secluded in serenity with your private piece of lagoon. Experience safari game drives in the renowned Moremi Game Reserve, spend time spin fishing or take a motorboat tour through the lagoon for bird watching.
9. Little Kulala, Namibia: $540/Night
Little Kulala sits on a private Kulala Wilderness Reserve within the Namib-Naukluft Park that is 5 hours drive from the Windhoek airport in Namibia. Here, you will discover an oasis amidst the red dunes of Sossusvlei. Each suite has its own private plunge pool overlooking panoramic view of the desert. A highlight at the resort is the rooftop sky bed perfect for Namibian star gazing. If you are feeling sociable, mingle with other guests in the communal area and hang out at the rustic wine cellar.
8. Phinda forest lodge, South Africa: $900/Night
The Phinda Forest Lodge is nestled in the East Coast of South Africa. Here, you will have the opportunity to see the Big Fives through game drives and witness up to 415 species of birds. Look out your hotel suite window and you will see that you are completed surrounded by a forest of trees. The still isolation within the Dry Sand Forest is breathtaking. After a day of game drive and bush walks, indulge in a dinner for two set against the backdrop of the African sunset or order in room massage service to prepare yourselves for the day ahead.
7. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Tanzania: $995/Night
Immerse yourself in a forest of Mahogany, Wild Mango and Fig trees where the prolific writer and hunting enthusiast Ernst Hemingway once hunted. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge in located in the Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, a park that is known for its impressive flocks of flamingos. Each tree house suite is perched amidst lush forestry, perfect for bird watching and elephant visits are nothing out of the ordinary. Spend your days picnicking around the lake or have your butler bring a drink to watch the sun go down.
6. Jack’s camp, Botswana: $1,190/Night
The award winning Jack’s Camp offers an entirely unique safari experience in vintage colonial African style. In the heart of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the luxury canvas tents are in the middle of nowhere amidst stretches and stretches of arid African soil. It showcases the vastness of majestic desert scape during the day and breakthtaking star gazing opportunities at night. Once you step into the tent, however, you are transported into a world of colonial opulent décor with a vintage library and pool table. Each suite has its own bathroom and private outdoor shower.
5. Royal Malewane, South Africa: $1,220/Night
Be prepared to be pampered in modern African luxury at the Royal Malewane. The accommodation is located on a private reserve within the Kruger National Park of South Africa for privacy and exclusivity. Savor fine dining by candle light on the comfort of the deck overlooking the waterhole after a long day of horseback riding safari. If you want to take in a true panoramic view, hop on the helicopter or take the hot air balloon for the bird’s view of waterfalls and canyons.
3. Jao Camp, Botswana: $1,336/Night
The Jao Camp is based in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, home to seasonal and permanent animals such as lions, buffalos, rhinos, zebras and baboons making it a popular destination for safari camps. There are nine tented camps here in total, built on raised decks that provide a tree house like setting. A regular mode of transport here is the Mokoros, the local wooden canoe, and there are two Mokoros with glass bottoms at Jao. When you are not on safari game drives, you can work out at a gym with panoramic Okavango view or get a massage in open space.
3. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge: $1,370/Night
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge takes luxury safari to a different level of opulence with red velvet sheets and crystal chandeliers. Each of the 30 suites on the premise comes with butler service who will prepare your bubble bath against a chandelier lit backdrop after a vigorous day of 4×4 safari expedition. There are up to 25,000 animals in the area and zebras are regular visitors by the lodge. The close by Lerai Forest is said to be one of the best places to spot leopards.
2. Zambezi Queen, Botswana: $1,766/3 Night Cruise
If you want something extraordinary, go on a really different safari experience with the Zambezi Queen luxury cruise. Fly into the Kasane International Airport in Botswana and travel to the cruise ship along the Chobe River situated between Namibia and Botswana. From there, it will take you through the Chobe National Park boasting up 120,000 elephants and hundreds of species of birds. The cruise ship is decadently decorated mainly in white with animal prints and elegant African themes offering the ultimate romantic getaway.
1. Kings Pool Camp, Botswana: $2,105/Night
The King’s Pool Camp is located in a private reserve in the Linyanti region of Botswana around a lake. There are only nine tented suites in the modern and sophisticated setting. Each room has en suite bathroom and outdoor showers and private pool decks. The communal deck overlooks the lush lagoon where hippos and elephants often gather. Day time activities include 4×4 safaris, walking tours, fishing and boat cruises. Evenings are spent around the campfire drinking and dining on the finest African cuisine.